In case you haven’t heard the fifth symphony, below is the work (please note that I haven’t had time to watch and listen yet, so I can’t say anything about this performance). Better than YouTube, of course, is for you to go to the concert. Prokofiev 5 is a mighty great work!

17. March 2010 · Comments Off on Oops! · Categories: Opera, San Francisco Opera

So I guess I only read part of the article I quoted in my earlier blog entry (and forgot to post a link to the article too … my apologies!). There was more to the story. I just didn’t scroll down. (I’m gonna blame my illness and the layout of the article, okay?)

Regarding Ms. Garanca, Mr. Gockley commented, “It pains me greatly to announce that Ms. Garanca has chosen not to appear in next season’s Werther as promised. She is a glamorous young star who has created a stir in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera, and I was looking forward to presenting her West Coast debut. However, after extensive discussions with her management and having filed a grievance through the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), I am satisfied that the financial settlement we have reached disposes of the matter.” A series of European concerts has been recently announced on Ms. Garanca’s website during the Werther performance schedule.

And HERE is the link I neglected earlier. Sorry!

San Francisco Opera today announced prominent British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote will now star as Charlotte opposite celebrated Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas in next season’s new production of Jules Massenet’s French opera, Werther. Ms. Coote replaces previously announced Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, who was to have made her Company debut but cited personal reasons for her withdrawal from the San Francisco Opera engagement.

Elina has performed live for the worldwide broadcasts by the Met recently in the title roles for La Cenerentola and Carmen, the latter with Roberto Alagna.

I think I’d rather make something rather than cite personal reasons. The minute someone says ‐ or writes — “personal reasons” I think readers play the guessing game about the why of it all. (I mostly worry about someone’s health.)

Or is that just my problem?

Of course if one says, “Scheduling Conflict” we think, “How stupid can his/her manager be?”

Guess it’s a lose-lose, eh?

I went to San Francisco Opera’s Werther page and the change isn’t mentioned there, but Alice Coote’s name is already up. IIRC, I missed her in something this past season, so I’ll happily hear her next year! I can’t remember what she was supposed to sing, but I seem to recall she was ill.

Gee … illness. It does strike, doesn’t it? As in right now for yours truly. I have some sort of a cold. And I’m not happy about it. But chicken soup is heating up, so I’m about to have at it. (My first real meal of the day, actually; when I feel crummy I don’t like to eat much.)

17. March 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: TQOD

Playing oboe is a good way to procrastinate

Gee, I never thought of it that way!

17. March 2010 · Comments Off on This Week @ SSV · Categories: Concert Announcements

Gabriela Montero is a concert pianist with a special calling card. She devotes much of her time to an activity that classical pianists pretty much abandoned a couple of centuries ago: improvising.

Typically, she will ask her audience to suggest a theme; someone might shout out “Star Wars” or “La Cucaracha” or a well-known melody by Bach. Then, Montero will begin one of her “free-falls,” as she puts it, letting her fingers spin freewheeling improvisations on the theme, adding new harmonies, building a flowing fantasia that veers far from its source.

If you see Montero in performance with Symphony Silicon Valley this week — Thursday, Saturday or Sunday at the California Theatre — there’s a good chance that you will hear one of these improvised excursions.

First, she will perform Rachmaninoff’s gleaming Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor with the orchestra; that’s the main event. But then, assuming the audience cheers loudly enough, she may just decide to sit back down for an improvised, jazz-inflected solo encore, as she often does.


I had read about Ms. Montero before, and had visited here website. I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing her live.

Now don’t you want to hear what she’ll do in San Jose? Huh? Go here so you, too, can hear!

I blogged earlier about a device I saw on the web. As I wrote, Robert Morgan, of Chicago Reed Company offered to send it to me just to give it a go … and he doesn’t even know me! So here I am, with this $250 invention of his. I guess he knows where to find me, but still, that was incredibly generous of him!

So now you all deserve an update, don’tcha think?

The W.R.I.S.T is pretty darn amazing! While I don’t often have hand or arm issues, I can still see the benefit of it. I’m nearly sold on it. Like 99.99% sold. (Like thinking, “I should just send the darn check,” kind of sold.) When I’m not playing but have only a few measures of rest, I just let it rest there. When I am playing, my right hand has absolutely no weight to hold at all. I think, too, that it allows me to have more relaxed fingers, and it makes the instrument feel very stable.

If you are using a peg, this is better. If you are using a neck strap, this is much better. If you are using nothing at all, you’ll probably need or want this eventually.

So there you go. My update. Pretty positive, eh?